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Cost of Sheaffer Pens in India


Fountain pen-repairer Anand Ganesh Naidu shows off a second-hand Sheaffer pen near a display instance of traditional pencils in Mumbai. Shanoor Seervai for Wall Street Journal

Mohammed Ashraf’s little stall in Mumbai is stocked with familiar street-market wares — fluorescent gel-ink pencils, analog clocks and sleek carry-on baggage.

But look closely and you’ll see something different: a dusty line of classic, embellished fountain pens. Mr. Ashraf’s stock is an uncommon remnant of city’s once-flourishing trade in elegant writing implements.

Before 1991, water feature pens had been in great demand in India because they were used to signal crucial documents and instruct schoolchildren how exactly to write neatly. High priced foreign brands just like the French Cartier and American Parker could be smuggled in to the nation because India’s socialist-style economy didn’t permit the import of foreign companies. Therefore the cobbled lanes around Mumbai’s landmark Flora Fountain had been lined with fountain-pen dealers. After 1991, whenever international brands could legally be imported and sold at malls and boutiques, the demand for smuggled second-hand pencils started to drop.

These days, Mr. Ashraf, 66 years old, is just one of the couple of remaining dealers. “Antiques are not easily available, but we now have our methods of getting all of them, ” he stated.

Mohammed Ashraf presented a 55-year-old restored Montblanc pen at his stand in Mumbai. Shanoor Seervai when it comes to Wall Street Journal

Mr. Ashraf buys pencils from old clients who are whittling down their selections, or if perhaps a senior enthusiast dies, more youthful family members tend to be fast to offer the entire collection all at once, he said.

Zishan Mitha runs a pen stall outside from Mr. Ashraf and also depends on families of deceased pen collectors for his dwindling availability of antique water feature pencils. The households sell simply because they “don’t have actually understanding of pens, ” stated Mr. Mitha, whose grandfather founded their particular stall in 1945.

One reason antique-pen sales are declining is a plastic water feature pen with a metal nib expenses less than 500 rupees ($8), he stated. A decades-old second hand pen — he pointed to one handmade from ebonite — expenses around 1, 400 rupees ($23) at Mr. Mitha’s stall.

Abbas Ambawala, which inherited his family members’s store, has actually gradually shrunk his antique supply from 200 to 20 pens. The decades-old restored fountain pens are obtaining dirt on their shelves, but brand new people offer faster, he says.

“Twenty years ago, individuals were utilizing fountain pencils every day, ” stated 44-year-old Mr. Ambawala. Today, “people do not would you like to waste their cash on an old pen, ” he said.

Abbas Ambawala, who's whittled down their number of second hand water fountain pens to generally meet the demand for brand new ones, at his pen shop in Mumbai. Shanoor Seervai the Wall Street Journal

Although their loyal clients keep finding its way back, many new purchasers would rather check-out “fancy” stores, Mr. Ambawala stated. “Fountain pens are becoming a condition symbol — people desire to carry or present a Montblanc simply to show just how rich they have been, ” he said, referring to the popular German pen and precious jewelry maker.



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